Planning Ahead for Assisted Living

Set plans in place now to avoid questions in the future

12/12/2013

If you have found yourself asking when the right time to plan for assisted living is, the answer is now. Even if the thought hasn’t crossed your mind, if you or a family member is getting close to retirement age, it is important to have a plan in place for the future. This plan will not only ensure that you or your loved one receives the care they need, but it will also help address any concerns ahead of time and lay out your expectations prior to choosing an assisted living facility.
 
Although aging is a fact of life, you don’t have to give up the ability to make important decisions about ongoing care as you age.
 
“While you are healthy and matters are within your control, set aside time to record and communicate your decisions about living arrangements, medical treatment and other matters,” according to the USAA Educational Foundation.
 
Include those closest to you whom you would like involved in these types of decisions, and store important information regarding these decisions in a safe place where someone you trust can access them as it becomes necessary.
 
One important step when planning ahead for assisted living is to ensure that your finances are in order and that you have a solid understanding about what your future income will be. Take an account of these financial sources and include them in your planning: 
  • Employee pension/retirement plans 
  • Current balances in checking and savings accounts and CDs 
  • Investments 
  • Ongoing payments such as loans, credit card accounts or household expenses 
In addition to your financial assets and responsibilities, you will want to make sure that should the time come that you need to enter into assisted living, you have a breakdown of your estate.
 
Take the time now, while you are able, to make a detailed written inventory of your possessions including real estate property, collectibles, jewelry, artwork and antiques. This will not only help you assess your estate and name the recipients of your possessions, but it will also help you identify possessions that might be available to sell in the future to help with the expenses that come with assisted living and long-term care.
 
The costs related to assisted living vary in many ways, and many establishments offer a tiered pricing model, allowing residents to choose what best suits their needs both medically and financially. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), there are several government subsidies available to help fund senior living; however, these amounts are often limited and may pose restrictions on the type of care you can receive and where you can receive it. These subsidies include: 
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Housing and Veterans Subsidies 
One other resource to look into as you begin planning for assisted living is senior living care insurance.
 
“Long-term care insurance is perhaps the best way to ensure you can afford to pay privately to receive the most choice in housing environment possible from your provider of choice, whether it’s independent living, assisted living, or another housing option,” states ALFA. Experts suggest researching long-term care insurance around age 40 and purchasing it by age 50.
 
Planning ahead for assisted living can be both mentally and emotionally draining. Having a financial professional help with these important life decisions can be extremely beneficial.

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